Putin vs Obama

Dueling Ideologies in New York

by Stephen Lendman

Steve Lendman Blog (September 29 2015)

Obama addresses make painful listening. He represents ruthless US ambitions to rule the world – even at the risk of destroying it.

His remarks at all times reflect willful deception, entirely lacking truth, candor and straightforwardness. He’s a shameless demagogue, a con man, a disgrace to his people and office he holds – masquerading as a legitimate leader.

His rants lost credibility long ago. His policies speak for themselves. His agenda threatens humanity’s survival. His neocon infested administration deplores peace and stability. His claims otherwise ring hollow. His Monday General Assembly address was true to form.

His praise for UN achievements over seven decades belies its dismal record. Its mandate “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” failed to prevent them throughout its entire history – US-led Nato and Israel bearing most responsibility.

Obama ludicrously claimed “unparalleled advances in human liberty and prosperity … lift(ing) more than a billion people from poverty … constraining bigger countries from imposing our will on smaller ones … advancing the emergence of democracy and development and individual liberty on every continent”.

Fact: Only a fool or liar believes this rubbish. Human liberty and prosperity were never more imperiled.

Fact: Billions of people are mired in poverty worldwide. Half the US population is either impoverished or bordering on it. Poverty in other Western countries and Israel are increasing. So-called “real progress” Obama touts is nonexistent.

Fact: No nation imposes its will more on other nations of all sizes than America, none more aggressively, recklessly, and ruthlessly.

Fact: None wages more direct and proxy wars. None more greatly threatens world peace and stability – none more intolerant of democracy anywhere at home and abroad, none more disdainful of rule of law principles, none more hated for its villainy.

Obama revealed his rage for war, saying he’ll “never hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary”.

Fact: America’s only enemies are ones it invents. Endless wars on humanity reflect longstanding bipartisan US policy.

The so-called “threat of terrorism” he hypes often is entirely fabricated. It’s manufactured to serve US imperial interests. State terrorism alone matters – the greatest threat to world peace.

Obama lied accusing Russia of “aggression” in Ukraine and annexing Crimea. He bears full responsibility for ousting a democratically elected government, installing Nazi-infested putschists to replace it, using them to wage war on their own people, ignoring the will of Crimeans and Donbass to embrace democracy and reject fascist rule.

Obama: “(W)e want a strong Russia that’s invested in working with us to strengthen the international system as a whole”.

Fact: Longstanding US policy calls for regime change, replacing Russia’s democratic governance with a US-controlled puppet regime, balkanizing the country for easier control, stealing its vast resources, exploiting its people.

Obama: “(W)e joined an international coalition under a UN mandate to prevent a slaughter in Libya … (W)e helped the Libyan people bring an end to the reign of a tyrant”.

Fact: Obama waged naked aggression against a nation threatening no one, destroying Africa’s most developed country, massacring its people, creating an out-of-control cauldron of violence and chaos. No UN mandate authorized his war.

He turned truth on its head calling Bashar al-Assad “a dictator, slaughter(ing) tens of thousands of his own people”.

Fact: In June 2014, Syrians overwhelmingly reelected him in a process international monitors called open, free and fair. Obama bears full responsibility for endless war and mass slaughter – one of many high crimes on his rap sheet. Assad courageously defends his nation and people. He deserves universal support.

Obama’s claim about wanting ISIS degraded and destroyed is polar opposite his agenda. Its recruits are US proxy foot soldiers, serving Washington’s imperial agenda, supported, not attacked, by Pentagon airstrikes.

Obama: “(T)he United States is increasing the number of refugees who we welcome within our borders”.

Fact: False! Pathetically few are permitted entry. None are “welcome”. Obama and Bush/Cheney bear full responsibility for the greatest refugee crisis since World War Two – the direct result of US imperial wars.

Obama’s address was beginning-to-end demagogic rubbish, total misinformation, one Big Lie after another – praising US democracy and the rights and needs of people everyone.

America is a fascist police state, ruled by money-controlled duopoly power. Democracy is pure fantasy. Endless wars and exploitation destroy the hopes, dreams and lives of people wherever America shows up – a scourge on humanity, a cancer threatening life on earth.

Putin is polar opposite Obama. World peace and stability are his top geopolitical priorities. No world leader more deserves Nobel Peace Prize recognition. War criminals like Obama nearly always win.

Putin’s address was polar opposite Obama’s – forthright, candid, honest remarks, highlighting the importance of world nations working together cooperatively for peace and stability.

“Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of full consensus”, he stressed, denouncing rule by force – “a world dominated by selfishness rather than collective work, a world increasingly characterized by dictate rather than equality”.

A world without “democracy and freedom … where true independent states would be replaced by an ever-growing number of de facto protectorates and externally controlled territories” – America’s worldview, accepting no alternatives.

“(S)overeignty (is) the right to choose freely one’s own future for every person, nation or state”, said Putin. Instead of learning from past mistakes, they’re repeated, he explained – with tragic consequences.

Instead of solving major problems, new ones are created, old ones exacerbated. “Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.”

“(P)olicies based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned”. Endless wars rage.

“(T)he Islamic State … did not just come from nowhere”. Imperial powers use it “as a tool against ‘undesirable’ secular” governments they want replaced.

Islamic State terrorists seek “dominance in the Islamic world. (Its) plans go further than that. The situation is more than dangerous”, Putin stressed.

He denounced “hypocritical and irresponsible … loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism” while financing and supporting it at the same time.

“We cannot allow these criminals who already tasted blood to return back home and continue their evil doings”, he stressed. World leaders must unite to eliminate their scourge, working cooperatively with Syria’s government, he urged.

Claims about Russian territorial or other nefarious geopolitical ambitions are baseless, a diversion from the current disturbing state of world affairs, he explained.

He proposed nations work together cooperatively – “guided by common values and common interests, rather than ambitions”, according to international law, including UN Charter principles.

“(W)e must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism”.

The alternative is endless wars, devastating consequences, including unprecedented human refugee floods seeking refuge, millions perhaps heading to Europe, already overwhelmed with numbers they’re poorly handling.

Putin stressed the importance of restoring legitimate governance in Libya, supporting Iraq’s government in its fight against terrorism, and “comprehensive” assistance to Assad – “the legitimate government of Syria”.

He urged the “full and faithful implementation of” Minsk ceasefire terms in Ukraine, ending the bloodshed once and for all – respecting “the interests and rights of (Donbass residents) and respect for their (democratic) choice”.

He denounced “unilateral sanctions” illegally imposed, “circumventing the UN Charter”, permitting only Security Council members to impose them.

Putin addressed other vital issues, presenting ideas and vital solutions to pressing problems – polar opposite America’s destructive agenda.

Russia will work cooperatively “with other countries (to) make the world stable and safe, as well as provide conditions for the development of all states and nations”, he concluded.

Following their addresses, both leaders met privately for ninety minutes. Obama left with no comments. Putin told reporters “(t)oday’s meeting was very constructive, practical and surprisingly frank”.

“We found a lot of common ground, but there are differences as well. In fact, they are known, so there is no need to repeat them.”

He touched on the dismal state of US/Russian relations, reflecting Washington’s agenda, not Moscow’s.

He urges peace and stability, respect for the sovereignty of all nations, a united front to defeat the scourge of international terrorism.

Obama wants endless imperial wars for unchallenged global dominance – an agenda for unprecedented human slaughter and misery.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War Three (2014).

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1 pm Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.


Categories: Uncategorized

Putin’s Blitz Leaves Washington Rankled and Confused

by Mike Whitney

CounterPunch (October 01 2015)

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a blistering critique of US foreign policy to the UN General Assembly.

On Tuesday, Barack Obama shoved a knife in Putin’s back. This is from Reuters:

France will discuss with its partners in the coming days a proposal by Turkey and members of the Syrian opposition for a no-fly zone in northern Syria, French President Francois Hollande said on Monday …

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius “in the coming days will look at what the demarcation would be, how this zone could be secured and what our partners think”, Hollande told reporters on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly …

Hollande said such a proposal could eventually be rubber-stamped with a UN Security Council resolution that “would give international legitimacy to what’s happening in this zone” … {1}

Hollande is a liar and a puppet. He knows the Security Council will never approve a no-fly zone. Russia and China have already said so. And they’ve explained why they are opposed to it, too. It’s because they don’t want another failed state on their hands like Libya, which is what happened last time the US and Nato imposed a no-fly zone.

But that’s beside the point. The real reason the no-fly zone issue has resurfaced is because it was one of the concessions Obama made to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the use of Incirlik airbase.  Washington has kept the terms of that deal secret, but Hollande has let the cat out of the bag.

So who put sock-puppet Hollande up to this no-fly zone nonsense?

Why the Obama administration, of course. Does anyone seriously believe that Hollande is conducting his own independent policy in Syria?  Of course not.  Hollande is just doing what he’s been told to do, just like he did when he was told to scotch the Mistral deal that cost France a whopping $1.2 billion. Washington and Nato didn’t like the idea that France was selling state-of-the-art helicopter carriers to arch-rival Putin, so they ordered Hollande to put the kibosh on the deal. Which he did, because that’s what puppets do; they obey their masters.  Now he’s providing cover for Obama so the real details of the Incirlik agreement remain off the public’s radar. That’s why we say,  Obama shoved a knife in Putin’s back, because, ultimately, the no-fly zone damages Russia’s interests in Syria.

The significance of the Reuters article cannot be overstated. It suggests that there was a quid pro quo for the use of Incirlik, and that Turkey’s demands were accepted. Why is that important?

Because Turkey had three demands:

1. Safe zones in north Syria (which means that Turkey would basically annex a good portion of Syrian sovereign territory.)

2. A no-fly zone (which would allow either Turkish troops, US Special Forces or US-backed jihadi militants to conduct their military operations with the support of US air cover.)

3. A commitment from the US that it will help Turkey remove Assad.

Did Obama agree to all three of these demands before Erdogan agreed to let the USAF use Incirlik?

Yes, at least I think he did, which is why I think we are at the beginning of Phase Two of the US aggression against Syria. Incirlik changes everything. US bombers, drones and fighters can enter Syrian airspace in just fifteen minutes instead of three to four hours from Bahrain. That means more sorties, more surveillance drones, and more air-cover for US-backed militias and Special Forces on the ground.  It means the US can impose a de facto no-fly zone over most of Syria that will expose and weaken Syrian forces tipping the odds decisively in favor of Obama’s jihadi army. Incirlik is a game-changer, the cornerstone of US policy in Syria.  With access to Incirlik, victory is within Washington’s reach. That’s how important Incirlik is.

And that’s why the normally-cautious Putin decided to deploy his warplanes, troops and weaponry so soon after the Incirlik deal was signed. He could see the handwriting on the wall. He knew he had to either act fast and turn the tide or accept the fact that the US and Turkey were going to topple Assad sometime after Turkey’s snap elections on November 1. That was his timeline for action. So he did the right thing and joined the fighting.

But what does Putin do now?

On Wednesday, just two days after Putin announced to the UN General Assembly:  “We can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world”, Putin ordered the bombing of targets in Homs, an ISIS stronghold in West Syria. The attacks, which were unanimously approved by the Russian parliament earlier in the day, and which are entirely legal under international law (Putin was invited by Syria’s sitting president, Assad, to carry out the airstrikes), have put US policy in a tailspin. While the Russian military is maintaining an open channel to the Pentagon and reporting when-and-where it is carrying out its airstrikes, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the US plans to “continue to fly missions over Iraq and Syria” increasing the possibility of an unintended clash that could lead to a confrontation between the US and Russia.

Is that what Washington wants, a violent incident that pits one nuclear-armed adversary against the other?

Let’s consider one probable scenario: Let’s say an F-16 is shot down over Syria while providing air cover for Obama’s militants on the ground. Now that Russia is conducting air raids over Syria, there’s a good chance that Putin would be blamed for the incident like he was when the Malaysian airliner was downed over East Ukraine.

So what happens next?

Judging by similar incidents in the past,  the media would swing into full-propaganda mode exhorting the administration to launch retaliatory attacks on Russian military sites while calling for a broader US-Nato mobilization. That, in turn, would force Putin to either fight back and up-the-ante or back-down and face disgrace.  Either way, Putin loses and the US gets one step closer to its objective of toppling Bashar al Assad.

Putin knows all this. He understands the risks of military involvement which is why he has only reluctantly committed to the present campaign. That said; we should expect him to act in much the same way as he did when Georgian troops invaded South Ossetia in 2007. Putin immediately deployed the tanks to push the invading troops back over the border into Georgia and then quickly ended the hostilities. He was lambasted by critics on the right for not invading Georgia and removing their leader, Mikheil Saakashvili, in the Capital. But as it turned out, Putin’s restraint spared Russia the unnecessary hardship of occupation which can drain resources and erode public support. Putin was right and his critics were wrong.

Will his actions in Syria mirror those in South Ossetia?

It’s hard to say, but it’s clear that the Obama crew is thunderstruck by the speed of the intervention. Check this out from the UK Guardian:

Back at the White House, spokesperson Josh Earnest suggests that Vladimir Putin did not give Barack Obama warning about his intentions to begin air strikes in Syria.

“We have long said we would welcome constructive Russian coordination”, Earnest says, before qualifying that the talks between US and Russian militaries will be purely tactical: “to ensure that our military activities and the military activities of coalition partners would be safely conducted”. (The Guardian)

What does Earnest’s statement mean?  It means the entire US political class was caught off-guard by Putin’s  blitz and has not yet settled on an appropriate response. They know that Putin is undoing years of work by rolling up proxy-units that were supposed to achieve US objectives, but there is no agreement among ruling elites about what should be done. And making a decision of that magnitude could take time, which means that Putin should be able to obliterate a fair number of the terrorist hideouts and restore control of large parts of the country to Assad before the US ever agrees to a strategy. In fact, if he moves fast, he might even be able to force the US and their Gulf allies to the bargaining table where a political solution could be reached.

It’s a long-shot, but it’s a much better option then waiting around for the US to impose a no-fly zone that would collapse the central government and reduce Syria to Libya-type anarchy. There’s no future in that at all.


{1} http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/28/us-un-assembly-hollande-syria-idUSKCN0RS2D920150928

{2} http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/sep/30/russia-syria-air-strikes-us-isis-live-updates


Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (2012). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.co


Categories: Uncategorized

Putin’s Lightning War in Syria

by Mike Whitney

CounterPunch (October 02 2015)

For more than a year, the United States has been playing patty-cake with an army of homicidal maniacs who call themselves ISIS. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he’d had enough of Washington’s song-and-dance and was planning to bring a little Russian justice to the terrorist militias that had killed 225,000 Syrians and ripped the country to shreds. In language that could not be more explicit, Putin said to the General Assembly: “We can no longer tolerate the currents state of affairs in the world”.  Less than 48 hours later, Russian bombers were raining down precision-guided munitions on terrorist strongholds across western Syria sending the jihadi vermin scrambling for cover.

That’s how you fight terrorism if you’re serious about it.   Bravo, Putin.

Putin’s blitz caught the entire western political establishment flat-footed. Even now, three days into the air campaign, neither the administration nor the policy wonks at the many far-right think tanks in Washington have even settled on an approach, much less a strategy, to developments on the ground. What’s clear, is that Putin’s action has surprised everyone including the media which to-this-day hasn’t even settled on it’s talking points.

This is extraordinary. Ask yourself this, dear reader: How can our political and military leaders watch Moscow deploy its troops, warplanes and military hardware to a theater where the US is carrying out major operations and have absolutely no plan of how deal with those forces if they are sent into battle?

If you are convinced, as I am, that we are governed by numbskulls, you will certainly find confirmation of that fact in recent events.

But while the Obama administration is frantically searching for a strategy, Putin’s air-squadrons are unleashing holy hell on the sociopaths, the head-choppers and the other assorted vipers that comprise the Islamic State.  And Mr Putin is getting plenty of help too, particularly from the crack-troops in the Iranian Quds forces and from the ferocious militia that defeated the IDF in two separate conflicts, Hezbollah, the Army of God. Check this out from Reuters:

Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last ten days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters …

“The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies”, said one of the sources familiar with political and military developments in the conflict …

“The vanguard of Iranian ground forces began arriving in Syria: soldiers and officers specifically to participate in this battle. They are not advisors …  we mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more”, the second source said. Iraqis would also take part in the operation, the source said. {1}

A military alliance between Moscow, Tehran and Hezbollah?

You’re darn tootin’, and you can thank Barack Obama and his lunatic regime-change plan for that development.

Many critics of Putin’s action have said that “He doesn’t know what he’s doing” or “He’ll get bogged down” or “It’ll be another Vietnam”.

Wrong. The fact is, Putin is more a devotee of the Powell Doctrine than any of the morons at the Pentagon. And he is particularly mindful of Rule Number Five which states: “Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?”

Has Putin thought about that or has he merely blundered ahead impulsively like US leaders are so apt to do?  Here’s what he said on September 30:

We naturally have no intention of getting deeply entangled in this conflict. We will act strictly in accordance with our set mission. First, we will support the Syrian army only in its lawful fight against terrorist groups. Second, our support will be limited to airstrikes and will not involve ground operations. Third, our support will have a limited timeframe and will continue only while the Syrian army conducts its anti-terrorist offensive.

Bingo. In other words, he’s going to bomb these jokers into oblivion and let Quds brigade and Hezbollah mop up afterwards. There will be no Russian boots-on-the-ground. The Russian airforce will get precise intelligence on ISIS locations from Syrian agents on the battlefield which will minimize civilian casualties and limit damage to critical infrastructure. It will also make mincemeat out of anyone on the receiving end of the bombardment. Does anyone seriously believe that ISIS and the disparate rabble of “moderate” throat-slitters that receive CIA funding are going to be able to withstand this impending onslaught?

No way. Putin’s going to cut through these guys like a tornado through a trailer park.  Yes, ISIS has had some success against the bedraggled Iraqi and Syrian armies. But now they’re up-against the A Team where they are clearly out of their league. Rolling up these cutthroats is going to take a lot less time than anyone figured.

Russian bombers are already destroying ammo dumps, fuel depots, heavy military hardware, command posts, anything that enhances ISIS’s ability to wage war.  The new anti-terror coalition is going to cut supply lines and hang the jihadis out to dry. And the whole operation is going to be wrapped up before Uncle Sam even get’s his boots laced.  This is from Iran’s Press TV:

A senior member of Russia’s parliament says an ongoing air campaign by Moscow against militants operating in Syria is going to intensify. Alexei Pushkov, who serves as the chairman of the Committee for International Affairs at the Russian State Duma, said Friday that Moscow will be intensifying its attacks against the militants in Syria while studying the risks associated with an extensive operation.

“There is always a risk of being bogged down, but in Moscow, we are talking about an operation of three to four months”, Alexei Pushkov said, Reuters reported.

Russia started to launch coordinated airstrikes on the positions of militants in Syria on Wednesday. The move came shortly after members of the Russian upper house of the parliament, the Federation Council, authorized the operations in Syria”. {2}

There’s not going to be any pussyfooting around. Putin’s going to go straight for the jugular and then head for the exits.

Do you think they’ve figured this out at the White House yet?  Do you think they understand that Iranian troops and Hezbollah are not going to distinguish between the “moderate” terrorists and the “extreme” terrorists; that they’re simply going to “kill them all and let God sort it out”?  Do you think they realize that Washington’s Middle East policy just collapsed and that the funding of jihadis and dreams of regime change just ended for good?  Do you think they grasp that Washington’s role as guarantor of global security has just been transferred to Vladimir Putin who has put himself and his country at risk to defend the fundamental principles of international law, national sovereignty and self determination? Here’s Putin again:

We are supporting the government of Syria in the fight against a terrorist aggression. We are offering and will continue to offer it necessary military-technical assistance. We must continue a dialogue for the sake of reaching consensus. But it’s impossible to achieve real success as long as bloodshed continues and people don’t feel secure. We won’t achieve anything until we defeat terrorism in Syria.

Putin is leading a coalition in the fight against terror. We should all be grateful for that.


{1} http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/01/us-mideast-crisis-syria-iranians-exclusi-idUSKCN0RV4DN20151001

{2} http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/10/02/431636/Russia-Syria-attacks-Pushkov


Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (2012). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.co


Categories: Uncategorized

Putin Trumps Obama at the UN

by Margaret Kimberley

Black Agenda Report (September 29 2015)

Global Research (September 30 2015)

If the peevish expression on Barack Obama’s face was any indication, Vladimir Putin is a force in the world who cannot be ignored. Ever since Russia annexed Crimea in response to the United States- and Nato-backed coup in Ukraine, Obama and the corporate media have falsely declared that Putin is isolated from the rest of the world. They claim he is a monster, a despot and an irrelevance on the world stage. While the G8 member nations turned themselves into the G7 in order to snub Russia, president Putin was making friends elsewhere. He may have been isolated from the United States and its clique, but not from China and the other BRICS nations or Syria or Iran or Iraq.

While western nations use the Islamic State (ISIS) as a ruse to exact regime change in Syria, Putin has formed an alliance to carry out the task of eradicating that danger which was created by western intervention. Presidents Obama {1} and Putin {2} both made their respective cases before the United Nations General Assembly at its annual meeting. Obama’s speech was an apologia for imperialism and American aggressions. He repeated the lies which no one except uninformed Americans believe. If he calls a leader a tyrant he claims the right to destroy a nation and kill and displace its people. Despite the living hell that the United States made out of Libya, Obama continues to defend his crime. He blandly adds that “our coalition could have and should have done more to fill a vacuum left behind”. Apparently he hopes that no one is paying attention to the horrors inflicted on Libya or the ripple effect which created numerous other humanitarian crises.

Not content to defend the indefensible, the president made it clear that the Obama doctrine of regime change and terror is alive and well. “I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known, and I will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary”.

In contrast, the man labeled a dictator acknowledged the importance of respecting every nation’s sovereignty:

Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and life itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.

Making good use of his time in the spotlight, he made clear that he wasn’t fooled or cowed by the United States.

I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you’ve done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.

Obviously Putin has self-interest in supporting his allies in Syria and for fighting ISIS. He acknowledged that his country is at risk from some of its own citizens who have sworn an allegiance to that group. Nonetheless, it is important that at least one nation in the world is capable of standing up to American state sponsored destruction and is willing to take action in that effort. Before the United Nations proceedings took place, Russia announced that it would share intelligence with Iran, Iraq and Syria in order to combat ISIS. If the United States were true to its word, that alliance would be welcomed instead of scorned.

Not since the late Hugo Chavez declared that George W Bush left a “smell of sulfur” has an American president been so openly confronted at the United Nations. Putin’s presence makes it clear that Obama can no longer expect to carry out his international dirty work without effective opposition.

While the corporate media noted the tense photo opportunity between the two presidents they neglected to mention the real issues behind the bad feelings. At a press conference after his address Putin was asked about French president Hollande’s insistence that Assad leave {3} the Syrian presidency.

I relate to my colleagues the American and French presidents with great respect but they aren’t citizens of Syria and so should not be involved in choosing the leadership of another country.

That simple statement explains the totality of American enmity towards Russia. The Nato nations claim a right to choose leaders, create and support their own terrorist groups and destroy anyone who doesn’t do what they want. Putin is making a case for non-interference and that makes him persona non grata in the eyes of the supposedly more democratic West.

The world ought to fear pax Americana, not a Russian military presence in Syria. There cannot be true peace and stability unless nations and peoples are left to their own devices. The helping hand of United States democracy is anything but. It is a recipe for disaster and requires forceful opposition. If Russia can be a reliable counterforce the whole world will benefit, even if Barack Obama frowns before the cameras.


Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in Black Agenda Report, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.com.


{1} https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/28/remarks-president-obama-united-nations-general-assembly

{2} https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/09/28/read-putins-u-n-general-assembly-speech/

{3} https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7jqjGTkyXc

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

Copyright (c) Margaret Kimberley, Global Research, 2015



Categories: Uncategorized

Obama, Putin: Checkmate

by Pepe Escobar

CounterPunch (October 01 2015)

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s message at the UN General Assembly was stark; either sovereign states get together in a broad coalition against all forms of terror, and the principle of statehood is respected as enshrined in the UN charter –  or there will be chaos.

This UN General Assembly revealed that the Obama administration’s perpetual newspeak does not cut it anymore. A review of UN speeches by both Putin and Obama is almost painful to watch. Putin acted like a serious global statesman. Obama acted like a poseur flunking a screen test.

Putin’s key talking points could not but be easily accessible to the Global South –  his prime audience, much more than the industrialized West.

1) The export of color –  or monochromatic –  revolutions is doomed.

2) The alternative to the primacy of statehood is chaos. This implies that the Assad system in Syria may be immensely problematic, but it’s the only game in town. The alternative is ISIS/ISIL/Daesh barbarism. There’s no credible “moderate opposition” –  as there was not in Nato-“liberated” Libya.

3) Only the UN – as flawed as it may be – is a guarantor of peace and security in our imperfect, realpolitik geopolitical environment.

Gotta Slay Those Myths

Washington believed its own Arab Spring myth in 2011, betting that after Tunis and Cairo, Damascus would fall in a flash.

The Beltway believed its own myth of “moderate rebels” taking power.

The Beltway did not listen to Syrian minorities warning about the danger of an extremist Sunni/Salafi-jihadi take over.

Thus the current Syrian tragedy; the end result of a formidably complex power play, political and religious, Syrian, regional and global.

ISIS/ISIL/Daesh – for all its barbarism – may eventually win a few battles, but it won’t control the whole of “Syraq”.

To defeat the cancer, there’s only one possibility: a real military campaign conducted by a real coalition including the US, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia.

Washington though never joins a coalition that it cannot control at will.

Thus a possible road map of what may lie ahead – as debated by Obama and Putin, face to face, for ninety minutes in New York; a two-headed coalition, one led by the US, the other led by Russia, but “coordinating” on the ground.

Still, Moscow will be struggling to form a wide-ranging coalition duly approved by the UN.

The task is immense. “Syraq” will have to be reconstituted.

That implies an Iraq acceptable for all Iraqis – and that’s impossible to accomplish without Iran. And a Syria acceptable to all Syrians – and that’s impossible without Iran and Russia.

Washington after all would have never been able to accomplish both in the first place. The Empire of Chaos specializes in nation breaking, not nation building.

Gotta Slay That Dragon

Gorbachev wanted to integrate the USSR in the European family – aiming for a Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Post-Soviet Russia though was not even invited to enter the house. What happened was Nato colonization of the former Soviet space.

Gorbachev dreamed that the West would share peace dividends with Russia. What Russia got instead was a neoliberal shock – and a humiliated society treated as a loser of the Cold War. Exceptionalism prevailed.

Under Putin, Russia tried once again a strategic partnership with the EU. Does anyone remember Sergey Lavrov as late as 2011 swearing that modernization of Russia was ready to go as a pan-European project, just as in the time of Peter the Great?

Yet by 2007, Putin had changed the game, and was ready to openly contest the unipolar “order” – and slowly but surely project Russia back to the geopolitical limelight.

Post-Ukraine, still under sanctions, but armed with a strategic partnership with China, the time for a checkmate is now.

In New York, Putin even proposed the lineaments of a New World Order. The genuine article, not that “vision thing” concocted by Daddy Bush post-collapse of the USSR.

It would be an equitable, fair world order – where state sovereignty is respected, sanctions are meaningless, Nato ceases to expand ad infinitum and exceptionalism does not apply.

The devil will be in the (many) details, of course. For instance, if a coalition to fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is forged and blessed by the UN, it will need the – virtually impossible – cohabitation of Sunnis and Shi’ites.

And in the near future, Brussels will have to tame visceral internal antagonism to have the European Union interacting with the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EEU), which by that time will be totally integrated with the China-led New Silk Roads.

What’s certain – for the overwhelming majority of the Global South – is that the Empire of Chaos made a mess everywhere, from Northern Africa and Southwest Asia to Russia’s western borderlands.

Putin now rides into the hellish mess ready to slay the dragon of chaos – and the machinations of the Empire of Chaos. His sword? The UN. No wonder checkmated neocons, neoliberalcons and “humanitarian” imperialists can barely conceal their apoplexy.


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Obama Re-Defines Democracy

A Country that Supports US Policy

by Michael Hudson

Naked Capitalism (September 29 2015)

In his Orwellian September 28 2015 speech to the United Nations, President Obama said that if democracy had existed in Syria, there never would have been a revolt against Assad. By that, he meant ISIL. Where there is democracy, he said, there is no violence of revolution.

This was his threat to promote revolution, coups and violence against any country not deemed a “democracy”. In making this hardly veiled threat, he redefined the word in the international political vocabulary. Democracy is the CIA’s overthrow of Mossedegh in Iran to install the Shah. Democracy is the overthrow of Afghanistan’s secular government by the Taliban against Russia. Democracy is the Ukrainian coup behind Yats and Poroshenko. Democracy is Pinochet. It is “our bastards”, as Lyndon Johnson said with regard to the Latin American dictators installed by US foreign policy.

A century ago the word “democracy” referred to a nation whose policies were formed by elected representatives. Ever since ancient Athens, democracy was contrasted to oligarchy and aristocracy. But since the Cold War and its aftermath, that is not how US politicians have used the term. When an American president uses the word “democracy”, he means a pro-American country following US neoliberal policies. No matter if a country is a military dictatorship or the government was brought in by a coup (euphemized as a Color Revolution) as in Georgia or Ukraine. A “democratic” government has been re-defined simply as one supporting the Washington Consensus, Nato and the IMF. It is a government that shifts policy-making out of the hands of elected representatives to an “independent” central bank, whose policies are dictated by the oligarchy centered in Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt.

Given this American re-definition of the political vocabulary, when President Obama says that such countries will not suffer coups, violent revolution or terrorism, he means that countries safely within the US diplomatic orbit will be free of destabilization sponsored by the US State Department, Defense Department and Treasury. Countries whose voters democratically elect a government or regime that acts independently (or even that simply seeks the power to act independently of US directives) will be destabilized, Syria style, Ukraine style or Chile style under General Pinochet. As Henry Kissinger said, just because a country votes in communists doesn’t mean that we have to accept it. It is the style of “color revolutions” sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy.

In his United Nations reply, Russian President Putin warned against the “export of democratic revolution”, meaning by the United States in support of its local factotums. ISIL is armed with US weapons and its soldiers were trained by US armed forces. In case there was any doubt, President Obama reiterated before the United Nations that until Syrian President Assad was removed in favor of one more submissive to US oil and military policy, Assad was the major enemy, not ISIL.

“It is impossible to tolerate the present situation any longer”, President Putin responded. Likewise in Ukraine. “What I believe is absolutely unacceptable”, he said in his CBS interview on 60 Minutes, “is the resolution of internal political issues in the former USSR Republics, through “color revolutions”, through coup d’etats, through unconstitutional removal of power. That is totally unacceptable. Our partners in the United States have supported those who ousted Yanukovych. … We know who and where, when, who exactly met with someone and worked with those who ousted Yanukovych, how they were supported, how much they were paid, how they were trained, where, in which countries, and who those instructors were. We know everything.”

Where does this leave US-Russian relations? I hoped for a moment that perhaps Obama’s harsh anti-Russian talk was to provide protective coloration for an agreement with Putin in their five o’clock meeting. Speak one way so as to enable oneself to act in another has always been his modus operandi, as it is for many politicians. But Obama remains in the hands of the neocons.

Where will this lead? There are many ways to think outside the box. What if Putin proposes to air-lift or ship Syrian refugees –  up to a third of the population –  to Europe, landing them in Holland and England, obliged under the Shengen rules to accept them?

Or what if he brings the best computer specialists and other skilled labor for which Syria is renowned to Russia, supplementing the flood of immigration from “democratic” Ukraine?

What if the joint plans announced on Sunday between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Russia to jointly fight ISIS –  a coalition that US/Nato has refrained from joining –  comes up against US troops or even the main funder of ISIL, Saudi Arabia?

The game is out of America’s hands now. All it is able to do is wield the threat of “democracy” as a weapon of coups to turn recalcitrant countries into Libyas, Iraqs and Syrias.


Michael Hudson is a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy (2015).


Categories: Uncategorized

Tick Tick Tick

by James Howard Kunstler

Clusterfuck Nation –  Blog (September 28 2015)

Did Charlie Rose look like a fucking idiot last night on 60-Minutes, or what, asking Vladimir Putin how he could know for sure that the US was behind the 2014 Ukraine coup against President Viktor Yanukovych? Maybe the idiots are the 60-Minutes producers and fluffers who are supposed to prep Charlie’s questions. Putin seemed startled and amused by this one on Ukraine: how could he know for sure?

Well, gosh, because Ukraine was virtually a province of Russia in one form or another for hundreds of years, and Russia has a potent intelligence service (formerly called the KGB) that had assets and connections threaded through Ukrainian society like the rhizomorphs of the fungus Armillaria solidipes through a conifer forest. Gosh, Charlie, it’s like asking Obama whether the NSA might know what’s going on in Texas.

And so there is Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, having to spell it out for the American clodhopper super-journalist.

We have thousands of contacts with them. We know who and where, and when they met with someone, and who worked with those who ousted Yanukovych, how they were supported, how much they were paid, how they were trained, where, in which country, and who those instructors were. We know everything.

The only thing Vlad left out of course was the now-world-famous panicked yelp by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland crying, “Fuck the EU”, when events in Kiev started getting out of hand for US stage-managers. But he probably heard about that, too.

Charlie then voice-overed the following statement: “For the record, the US has denied any involvement in the removal of the Ukrainian leader”. Right. And your call is important us. And your check is in the mail. And they hate us for our freedom.

This bit on Ukraine was only a little more appalling than Charlie’s earlier segment on Syria. Was Putin trying to rescue the Assad government? Charlie asked, in the context of President Obama’s statement years ago that “Assad has to go”.

Putin answered as if he were explaining something that should have been self-evident to a not-very-bright high school freshman:

To remove the legitimate government would create a situation which you can witness in other countries of the region, for instance Libya, where all the state institutions have disintegrated. We see a similar situation in Iraq. There’s no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the government structure.

I guess Charlie and the 60-Minutes production crew hadn’t noticed what had gone on around the Middle East the past fifteen years with America’s program of toppling dictators into the maw of anarchy. Not such great outcomes.

Charlie persisted though, following his script: Was Putin trying to rescue Assad? Vlad had to lay it out for him as if he were introducing Charlie to the game of Animal Lotto: “What do you think about those who support the terrorist organizations only to oust Assad without thinking about what happens to the country after all the state institutions have been demolished …? Look at those who are in control of sixty percent of the territory of Syria.”

Meaning ISIS. Al Nusra (formerly al Qaeda in Syria), that is, groups internationally recognized as terrorist organizations.

Charlie Rose, 60-Minutes –  and perhaps by extension US government agencies with an interest in propagandizing –  seem to want to put over the story that Russia has involved itself in Syria only to aggrandize its role on in world affairs.

Forgive me for being so blunt, but what sort of stupid fucking idea is this? And are there any non-lobotomized adults left in the USA who can’t see straight through it? The truth is that American policy in Syria (plus Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Somalia, Afghanistan) is an impressive record of failure in terms of the one basic aim that most rational people might agree upon: stabilizing the region in a way that does not leave Islamic jihadi maniacs in charge.

Okay, so now the Russians will do what they can to try to stabilize Syria. They’ve had their failures, too (famously, Afghanistan). But Russian territory adjoins the Islamic lands and they clearly have stake in containing the virus of Islamic extremism near their borders. Is that not obvious?

Charlie made one other extremely dumb statement –  he seems to prefer making assertions to asking straight-up questions –  to the effect that Russia was misbehaving by deploying troops on its border with Ukraine.

Putin again seemed astonished by this credulous idiocy. The US had troops and nuclear weapons all over Europe, he answered. Did Charlie think that meant the US was attempting to occupy the nations of Europe now? Was it “a crime” for Russia to defend its own border with a neighboring state (formerly a province) that, he implied, the US had deliberately destabilized?

The Putin segment was followed by a sickening session with Donald Trump, a man who now –  after a month or so of public exposure –  proves incapable of uttering a coherent idea. I wonder what Vladimir Putin makes of this incomparable buffoon. Perhaps that America has gotten what it deserves.


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